No… I Wasn’t Eaten by Dragons, But Close!

Thar be dragons

The rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated ~ Mark Twain

When I first started Life, It’s a Work in Progress, I had all these insane dreams of how things were going to go. For example, I was going to post twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, without fail. After all, I’d actually like to build a readership and everyone knows you have to post on a regular schedule to do that. Otherwise readers get upset and go elsewhere, right?

Right.

In fact, my current site data tells me visitors disappear on the days I don’t post and take a week or two to come back. So, overall, keeping a schedule was a darn good idea. Right? Right. But.

Ah, yes. The well worn, often used, much smudged “but,” followed quickly by “life happens.”

So… I Was Making Plans and…

Life is what happens while you’re making plans, right? Well, life went “rabid squirrel” on me. Allow me to fill you in on the circumstances since we last spoke, dear reader:

Car with No Go

grease monkey

Grease Monkey

Three or four weeks ago, I decided it was high time I figured out how to replace a clutch. Ladies, this is possible. If you can turn a can opener, you can turn a wrench (but learn the difference between clockwise and counter clockwise first). A few things you need to know if you ever plan on working on your own car, however:

  • Chilton Repair Manual – It’ll be your best friend… or, at the very least, a handy book to have when you don’t know the difference between a rotor and a brake.
  • Haynes Repair Manual – For the times when Chilton sucks. One of the best presents I’ve ever received was given to me while working on the clutch. A Haynes manual. With pictures of (and this is important) the underside of the car!
  • “Lefty-loosy, righty-tighty” is really hard to keep track of once you’re under the car and can’t see what you’re loosening/tightening. Make sure you know which way you’re going before you get under the car!
  • Don’t try figure out how long it will take you to work on whatever is wrong by counting the steps. Do you have any idea how much of a car you have to take apart to replace a clutch? I do. Now. And it’s way more than the 10 steps my Chilton originally outlined.

Anyway, it took me almost a week. Half of me wishes I’d taken pictures. The other (and much saner) half is very glad I didn’t. It started; it worked. But after all that work, it’s still not road ready. Something else is wrong with it that has to be fixed. In other words, I’m still without a car. For a woman who loves to drive, this is not pleasant.

Lazy Muse with No Work Ethic

Writer's Block

Writer’s Block I, by Drew Coffman on Flickr

I don’t know how long my muse has been taking a break, but I’ve finally come to the end of the ideas drawer she filled up a while back. It used to be when writer’s block came in that I could feed her cookies and the block would disappear.

At this moment, though, my muse can’t stand sweets and refuses to work. Lazy git. For someone who spends a lot of time writing for a living, writer’s block is not an option. So… I barrel through and worriedly “share my concerns” with my business partner about how every article should end up in the scrap heap. Although I get things turned in by deadline somehow, this is an uncomfortable experience for me.

I do so hope my muse decides to like cookies again. Oooh… maybe I can persuade her with salmon…

Cigars? Cigarettes?

Stop Smoking

Stop Smoking

I’ve been a smoker for oh… 23 or so years. For the past two years, I’ve been trying to quit (with varying degrees of umph). It hasn’t gone so well.

Now, as a Christian that follows the “your body is a temple” philosophy as written in the biblia, the inability to quit smoking has been quite a frustration. Here I am, a professing Christian (or, at the very least, someone practicing to become a professing Christian), waving a cigarette around and blowing big gusts of smoke your way. How loverly. That whole “love your neighbor” thing goes right out the window with the second-hand smoke, doesn’t it?

Well, due to a series of unfortunate events (which happen to be really good books, by the way), I have now been a non-smoker for a month. A whole month – not one of those “I only had one cigarette a week” type months, but one of those “I haven’t had any” type months.

After two years of trying, I got the idea that maybe I’m an addict. I got the idea that I can’t do it alone. You know what? I can’t, I’m not, and if you knew the series of unfortunate events, you’d agree that they’re far from circumstantial.

Thank you, Father, for Your patience, kindness and infinite mercy.

A Book with No Cover

Books

Writing, Writing, Writing…

Very few people know this, but I once wrote a book – a novel, actually. In fact, it totaled almost 90,000 words before it was finished, and I’d planned a trilogy. We know, by now, what happens with plans, don’t we?

Anyway, it took me ten years to write, rewrite, write again, edit, rewrite and edit again. It’s now been broken into three books itself, with the first one ready for publication. For the past six months, I’ve been trying to take a drawing I made for the cover and turn it into a full-color digital version. In the meantime, I’ve received numerous nagging phone calls from my brother, who agreed to make sure all the necessary things were done for the book to be published on Amazon as an ebook.

Apparently, one of the necessary things he needed to make sure of was the book cover. Nag, nag, nag.

Having said that, the book cover is now finished! I’m extremely excited, because that means I get to nag him now about when the book will be ready for sale. Mwahahaha! Oh, yes, and because that means the book will be ready for sale, and I can post it here on the blog. A happy bonus to be sure.

A Child with a Bike

J on her bike

Look at her go!

My darling daughter has been desperately trying to learn how to ride her bike. Time to teach her has been badly limited. Between my best friend and me, however, we’d managed to get her to the point where she needed brakes.

Outside of my house is a downhill slope. The last time I let her ride in the street she didn’t use her brakes; I had to run after her, which threw my left hip out (it’s very misbehaved, that hip). I caught up, but darned if it didn’t keep me in pain for the next few days.

BUT – You should have seen our beautiful girl last Sunday! We took her up to the bike park and let her ride to her heart’s content. For the first fifteen or twenty minutes, it was as if she’d forgotten almost everything she’d learned. BUT… As we headed into the parking lot, getting ready to leave, I looked over and noticed the most glorious sight on earth; she was riding her bike as if she was born to it!

Over-active Nerves

I don’t like pain pills. I try very hard not to take them. I don’t like the groggy feeling I get, and they never work as I think they should. For example, a pain pill should take care of where it hurts, right? Wrong. These take away feeling from everywhere but where it hurts, which leaves me to focus entirely on the painful part. A lot of good that does.

A week ago now, the nerve bundle at the base of my skull decided to act up. I don’t know why; I still can’t figure what sets them off. Pain stabbed around my neck, up into my head, across my shoulders and down my back. By bedtime, my entire left side ached from the inside out.

If I’d realized I had pills in my purse, I’d have taken one in the hopes that it’d work. Instead, I tossed, turned, stretched and groaned most of the night. Since then, there’s been little relief – just a constant, dull ache stabbing at my neck, shoulders and back with varying degrees of insistence.

This Too Shall Pass

Have you ever read the Proverbs 31 woman? This lady was busy. It’s hard to think of her doing all the things she did in the same period of her life. Actually, that’s not true. It’s hard to imagine her doing all these things well, if she did them all at once.

And yet, this woman is my hero. She’s loved and respected by her children; she’s loved and praised by her husband. People look to her for her wisdom. I’d like to know how she managed to be a loving mother, wife and friend, as well as a shrewd businesswoman and caretaker of her household. Because, for the life of me, I can’t manage it.

Mixed and mingled in with the wonders of the past months – the joys to be had and the days of extended life that have been given – are the stressors. There are worries of things I am unable to take care of financially, physically or emotionally. There’s pain that seldom goes away and tears that are frustratingly close to the surface. There are the frustrations of various areas of life frozen in stasis.

There is the realization, once again, that I am not in control.

There is the realization, finally, that I don’t have to be. What I do have to be is patient. And trusting. And loving. And kind. Not just on the days when I feel great, well rested and everything is going smoothly, but also on the days where just moving hurts, I didn’t rest the night before and nothing’s going right.

And I’m okay with that. Oh, sure, not the part of me that’s quivering with exhaustion, but there’s another part of me, and it’s grinning because of the final realization:

Life is a challenge. It’s a challenge by our Creator to live beyond what we believe we are capable of, to become what He knows we are capable of. And, as we wake up and meet each day with love, kindness, joy, peace, mercy and long-suffering, we grow a little closer to being the new creature He envisions.

Post Script and Promises

I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not going to make it as a scheduled personal blog writer. I hope you’re okay with reading when I can write. Maybe if you know I won’t make the schedule, you’ll forgive me for being late. I’ve also come to the conclusion that, regardless of what I do in business (i.e. always making sure a blog post has meat, has between 600 and 1,000 words, and is always on time), my personal blog will be different.

As hard as it will be to break from my personal online writing tradition, I’ll write when it comes to me, stop when it doesn’t, and try not to feel like I’m letting anyone down no matter how (or when) it turns out.

To those who read and those who’ve wondered how I was doing, thank you for your concerns. To those who’ve asked, the dragons were hungry, but I made it out alive… I’m still here, and life is still in progress!

One thought on “No… I Wasn’t Eaten by Dragons, But Close!

  1. Pingback: The Dragons Were Hungry, But I Made It! | Life – It's a Work In Progress

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